6 Tips To Ensure Safe and Comfortable Holiday Travel

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

From: Home Care Assistance

For many, gathering with family and friends for the holidays means boarding a plane and traveling hundreds, or even thousands, of miles. Traveling during the holiday season is stressful not only because of traffic, overbooked flights and frequent delays but also because planes are hotbeds for sickness. For seniors, traveling can be quite intimidating especially when they are doing so alone. Whether you are accompanying a senior loved one or simply helping him or her plan, there are a number of actions you can take to ensure a comfortable and fairly easy trip.

  • Visit the doctor. Consult with a doctor to determine if your loved one is healthy enough to travel—it is integral to plan ahead for anything that could occur over the duration of your trip.
  • Schedule in advance. When booking the flight, consider purchasing a seat with extra legroom—these seats are often towards the front of the plane. Booking is also the time to apply for early boarding or request a wheelchair (sometimes terminals can be quite far from security checkpoints).
  • Pack essentials. Make sure your senior brings an extra pair of glasses, any medications he or she takes regularly as well as extra batteries for hearing aids if necessary.
  • Dress comfortably. Encourage your loved one to wear comfortable, slip-on shoes that will be easy to get on and off when going through security. Planes and airports are notorious for being overly air-conditioned, which can be problematic for seniors who may be more sensitive to the cold, so suggest that he or she bring a jacket, sweater or blanket in a carry-on.
  • Reduce the risk of cold and flu. Cold and flu viruses thrive in the dry air environment of planes. Encourage your loved one to bring some alcohol-based antibacterial hand sanitizer (following TSA guidelines) and use regularly.
  • Encourage healthy behaviors. Overall, it’s important to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and get adequate rest before traveling.
If your loved one is flying alone, a travel companion may be ideal as he or she can assist with baggage, security and boarding. Home Care Assistance caregivers are often available to accompany clients on vacations. They can also provide transportation to the airport, assist with bag check and escort your loved one to security—some airlines even allow a caregiver to accompany a senior through security and to the gate.